The people of Aleppo, Syria, are living in a nightmare right now.
Innocent men, women, and children have been caught in the cross fire between the Syrian army, rebels refusing to back down from a tyrant president, and reckless Russian drone strikes. In the eastern part of the city — once a thriving, metropolis home to millions — 50,000 civilians are bunkered up amongst the ruins, living at-risk of being killed in a moment's notice.
On the ground accounts coming out of Aleppo are horrifying. The city has been grappling with unrelenting violence for months. But the UN reports that, in just the past few days, Russian and Syrian forces — which have gained control of nearly all of the city — have slaughtered dozens of civilians. Messages of despair from inside the city walls have gone viral around the world, even as their authors remain helplessly trapped in a besieged city with "nowhere safe to run." Despite a cease-fire on Dec. 13, 2016, ongoing violence reportedly continued the following day.
It's easy to feel hopeless and helpless watching immeasurable heartache unfold continents away. But the people in Aleppo need us now more than ever before, and rallies in cities across the globe are showing us exactly how it's done:
1. In Beruit, protesters with signs reading "Aleppo" in Arabic said a lot without voicing a single a word.
2. In London, activists rallied outside Downing Street, urging their leaders to do something to protect the most vulnerable in Syria.
3. In Kuwait City, protesters held placards with a black "X" through the Russian flag in protest of Moscow's role in Aleppo's devastation.
4. In Denver, residents and lawmakers alike voiced solidarity with the Syrian people, even an ocean away.
5. In Amman, Jordan, peaceful but determined protesters took aim at the local Russian embassy.
6. In Istanbul, people poured into the streets with signs and flags in staunch opposition to Vladimir Putin.
7. In Idlib, Syria — just 40 miles away from Aleppo — protesters pleaded for the outside world to save their neighbors "before it is too late."
8. And in Sarajevo, women held dolls in protest of the young children who've been killed at the hands of violence.
Regardless of where you live in the world, you can make a difference.
There are many organizations providing vital services on the ground in and around Aleppo, like search and rescue operations and medical relief for those in desperate need. If you have a dollar to spare, it won't go to waste.
As Malala Yousafzai once said, "When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful."